The Long Apology

December 2, 2001

by Bruce Walker

Moslems like bin Laden refer to the Moorish defeat at the Battle of Tours as if it was yesterday, and as if it was a great and unfair victory for Christianity against Islam. When Bill Clinton refers to the wrongs of America, he goes back 1,000 years to Crusaders who murdered Moslems and Jews in the Holy Land.

Leftist Jews, terrified with genuine religious faith, point to the deeds of Christian states against Jews. It is indicative of how little Christianity can be seriously connected to these wrongs since the last overt state action against Jews in England took place over seven hundred years ago, with the expulsion of Jews by King Edward. Seldom mentioned is the royal protection granted to these Jews from harm, or the swift punishment dealt to Christians who molested these Jews. Even less often mentioned is this formal expulsion was revoked over three hundred and fifty years ago by the only ruler of England whose sole claim to power was his Christian piety - Oliver Cromwell, the great Puritan leader.

Clinton’s complaints about American involvement in slavery and imperialism is even sillier. Not only was Britain the first nation to formally ban slavery, but the original thirteen states abolished slavery through their separate governments. By the time of the Civil War, every northern state had ended the despicable institution of slavery, and the one plebiscite - Bloody Kansas - rejected slavery and embraced freedom. The motivation for these actions? Belief in the immortal soul of all men and women.

Is Christianity to blame for slavery? The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Council understood that Christianity was the cure for the social problems of this world. Read carefully Dr. King’s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Find, if you can, anger or hate or vengeance. Wesley Pruden of the Washington Times wrote a beautiful article several years ago of his encounter with Dr. King. Pruden was a young reporter, and Dr. King was a very busy man. The famous black minister politely, but firmly, worked through all the stock questions about race relations and politics, and the short interview was about to end ... until Mr. Pruden brought up Jesus. Then Dr. King sent out for sandwiches, sat down with Brother Pruden, and talked about the sweet love of God. This side of Martin Luther King is ignored or suppressed, but this was at the very heart of all he tried to do with his life.

How about the Holocaust? Did Christian antisemitism produce the Holocaust? The nihilists who hated Jews hated Christians with an equal passion. Nietzsche sarcastically proclaimed, "The last Christian died on the Cross," and Nazis not only desecrated Synagogues and Torahs, but also Churches and Bibles. Christians were the only implacable foes of Nazis. The Communists became opponents only when attacked, and even then Stalin negotiated for peace until late in 1944. Moslems actually volunteered to join SS Divisions, and did all they could to help the Axis win in the Middle East.

Look around the world and find goodness seen as goodness by all, and find men and women whose lives have been profoundly influenced by Jesus (although the branch of Christianity or even the recognized affiliation to traditional Christianity may be unfamiliar - the person of Christ is not). Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the only person in the bitter battle among the different factions of China, was also the only man revered by all sides and the only major Chinese Christian in the convoluted story of China in the Twentieth Century. Mahatma Gandhi called himself a Christian, and Mother Teresa, the only other person besides Gandhi to receive a state funeral in India, was obviously and profoundly Christian. Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize winner in South Africa, is a very serious Christian. Albert Schweitzer the greatest humanitarian in the Twentieth Century, was a very unconventional Christian, but reading his beautiful sermons from the early part of the last century make it quite clear that he found Jesus an irresistible force.

It was the spirit of Christians who did not fear man as much as love God, like Solzenitsyn and Pope John Paul II, who broke the back of the Soviet Empire (both those men also had the misfortune of suffering at the hands of the Nazis and the Communists as well - how many people could have survived that with love?)

Still, we Christians are constantly called upon to "apologize" by a world that seems sometimes more like the surreal world of the brutal Red Guards, brimming with an unspoken hate that demanded their real or imagined opponents to "denounce" themselves, than an orderly and civilized global community.

Apology is always proper when offense if given, and forgiveness is required for the repentant, but Christ asks also for truth and courage from each of us. Christianity is not the cause of any problem in the world. Indeed, as science and technology give us more and more the powers of those impish and capricious gods of Greek and Norse mythology, and as these powers over nature reduce the amount of time required in real work for us to live comfortably, the Christian outlook is ever more clearly the only hope of mankind.

So let us repent when we are wrong. Let us love, even when others are wrong. Let us forgive, even as we work to end the wrongs of the world. Let us be Christian Apologists, in the pure sense of the world: as those who witness to the world the irresistible love of God. But let us stop apologizing for Christianity, the candle which brings light to the moonless midnights of human depravity and which saves much more than money, comfort, or even lives - which saves souls.


Bruce Walker has been a dyed in the wool conservative since, as a sixth grader, he campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater. Bruce has had almost two hundred published articles have appeared in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Law & Order, Legal Secretary Today, The Single Parent, Enter Stage Right, Citizen's View, The American Partisan, Port of Call, and several other professional and political periodicals.

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For more of Bruce's articles, visit his archives.

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